Abbott-Ross


Miles D White
Chairman & CEO
Abbott Laboratories
100 Abbott Park Road, Abbott Park Illinois
60064-3500
USA.
Tel: +1 847 937 6100
Fax: +1 847 937 1511
Websites: www.abbott.com; www.ross.com

Products include:
Infant Formula

Alimentum, Isomil, Isomil DF, Isomil 1, Similac NeoSure, Similac NeoCare, Similac, Similac Plus 1, Similac Advance, Similac Advance 1, Similac Advance Lactose Free, Similac RA, Similac Low Iron, Similac LF, Similac with Iron, Similac Advance with Iron

Follow-up Formula
Gain, Gain High Protein, Gain Plus, Isomil 2, Isomil Soy Protein Follow-up, Similac Advance 2, Similac Plus 2, Similac Gain

Complementary Foods
Cereales Abbott Extra

Since its establishment in 1888, Abbott Laboratories has expanded into 130 countries. It has its headquarters in Chicago, USA. While the parent company concentrates on pharmaceuticals, hospital and diagnostic products, its Ross Products Division markets “nutritionals”, including breastmilk substitutes. Located in Columbus, Ohio, Ross is the biggest infant formula manufacturer in the United States.

The company’s use of the endorsement, “1st Choice of Doctors”, to advertise its products was challenged by rival Mead Johnson. The statement appears on leaflets, Abbott-Ross’ website and on its formula labels. A US court ruled in favour of Abbott-Ross, permitting it to continue using the endorsement, in violation of the Code. “1st Choice of Doctors” on the label of Ross soy formula, Isomil, was considered misleading under New Zealand’s Fair Trading Act. Ross agreed to withdraw the product after New Zealand Commerce Commission inquiry in November 2000.

In 1999, Abbott was one of seven formula companies which the Italian Competition Authority found guilty of unfair marketing strategies, for agreeing to restrict competition on powdered infant milks and special milks for babies up to 4-6 months of age. The milks were made available only in pharmacies, at prices two to three times higher than in other European countries.


Promotion to the public

Promotion in health care facilities

Promotion to health workers

Free or low-cost supplies

Adequate labelling

Stretching the rules

Reports from other countries

Score card


Promotion to the public


 


Leaflets promoting the “Abbott Baby Club” sponsored by Gain Plus, and bookmarks advertising Gain Plus are found in doctors’ offices in Hong Kong.

Promotion in health care facilities

  • In St John’s, Canada, the company places Isomil gift bags in a municipal family practice unit for distribution to mothers.

  • The company places leaflets titled “Making the First year easy to digest” to advertise Similac in a family practice in Canada. The leaflet does not meet the Code’s requirements of information on the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of using breastmilk substitutes, implying that formula is equivalent to breastmilk.

  • “Forty weeks to Motherhood”, a booklet advertising Similac, is distributed in a women’s health centre in Canada. While this booklet provides information about the benefits of breastfeeding, it fails to inform parents of the risks of using breastmilk substitutes. This booklet also implies that bottle feeding is equivalent to breastfeeding.

  • In the waiting room of a medical clinic in Canada, free formula packets are displayed along with a five-page pamphlet promoting Similac Advance “Closer than ever to breastmilk for babies 0-12 months”. Isomil samples are also for the taking while the changing table has a disposable cloth, which brightly advertises both Similac andIsomil the Soy Solution recommended by Canadian Physicians.”

  • In Hong Kong, the company deposits in doctors’ offices promotional leaflets containing pictures or text that idealise the use of infant feeding products. Products promoted in the leaflets include Similac Plus (“What can be done for babies with constipation”), Similac LF (“Abbott healthy baby, Similac baby”) and Gain Plus (“How to nurture babies to meet the World of tomorrow”).

  • Leaflets promoting the “Abbott Baby Club” sponsored by Gain Plus, and bookmarks advertising Gain Plus are found in doctors’ offices in Hong Kong.

Promotion to health workers

Poster with adorable (and very promotional) Similac baby gazing into the new millennium..



“Return the survey and get your Free Rosco Teddy Bear”.

Free or low-cost supplies



No picture or text which may idealize the use of infant formula. No use of terms “humanised” or “maternalised” or similar. Similac is similar to what?

Adequate labelling

Stretching the rules

Reports from other countries